Lost in the massive numbers of new COVID-19 cases that comprise each new coronavirus update we get in the US is a strange but true fact: There are still a few counties that are the last pandemic holdouts, the final exceptions to the rule that have yet to see any local coronavirus cases.
Of course, the assumption is that it’s only a matter of time. The latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University show how worse the pandemic keeps getting here, with more than 8.2 million coronavirus cases now having been reported in the US (along with more than 221,000 deaths). Moreover, the Johns Hopkins data shows that the national seven-day case average has grown to almost 60,000, up about 73% in a little more than five weeks, per CNN. We’re going to be in for a hard winter, the experts keep telling us — and yet, there are still two counties in the US that, at least as of the time of this writing, have managed to avoid having any coronavirus cases. Here’s where they are.
They’re in Texas and Nevada (Loving County and Esmeralda County, respectively). A third county, Skagway in Alaska (which technically calls itself a borough instead of a county) was also on this list until a few days ago, when five people in the 1,000-person community in the Alaska panhandle reportedly tested positive for the virus. A lockdown quickly ensued. Imagine that — swift action, over five cases.
Size, and being remotely located, appear to be the main reasons that these last two counties have been spared the effects of the pandemic thus far. Both have less than 1,100 residents.
For additional context around why these counties’ locations are so important, Dr. Steven Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University, recently explained to MSN why the coronavirus has spread as much as it has around the country.
“The virus didn’t get to all those counties by hopping on a bus,” Woolf said. “This is being transmitted by humans. The policies we’ve relaxed have allowed people to transmit the virus because they’re not wearing masks, they’re not social distancing, they’re gathering in large groups, they’re going to football games, they’re attending political rallies and creating superspreader events that carry the virus on to a new destination.’’
It’s also worth noting that even Skagway, which until only a few days ago was reporting no coronavirus cases, hadn’t been completely untouched by the pandemic. The borough has traditionally been a cruise ship route stop, and the decimation of that industry has also subsequently wrecked the borough’s economy, according to news accounts.